Two new programs in Topeka will provide court and dental services to people with mental illness.
An alternative sentencing court run through the Topeka Municipal Court will allow mentally ill people who committed relatively minor crimes to be released from a jail earlier than scheduled if they comply with a treatment plan.
The program also will offer employment, housing and substance abuse help. Christine Wills with Valeo Behavioral Health Care says the alternative sentencing court will hear its first docket in early January.
Four safety net clinics in Kansas have been awarded federal funding to create or expand mental health services for low-income Kansans.
Bryan Thompson reports that funding is part of almost $55 million dollars in similar grants nationwide through the Affordable Care Act.
The four clinics will each receive $250,000. The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas saw 2,500 patients for mental health issues last year. CEO Krista Postai intends to use the new money to integrate medical and behavioral care.
Gov. Sam Brownback is making a major push to improve the state’s mental health system. The governor's plan creates a behavioral health sub-cabinet within state government, targets substance abuse for its role in exacerbating mental illness, and increases financial investment in current treatment programs, among other things.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says gaps in mental health care could be addressed if every state-including Kansas-would expand Medicaid as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act.
Rick Cagan, who heads NAMI Kansas, says the state’s system of community mental health centers is supposed to provide help for Kansans with mental illness, regardless of their ability to pay. But budget cuts have left public mental health providers unable to meet the needs…